Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 ACPT Live Blog

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Like most of the rest of the crossword world, we left Dan Feyer for dead yesterday at the side of the road after a head-on collision with one blank and one wrong square (thanks to BEQ for the clarification) on Puzzle No. 3.

What happened after that is worthy of a primetime soap opera on the order of classics like "Dynasty" and "Dallas".

Through a series of missteps, appeals and one recanted appeal by a very sportsmanlike contestant (who wound up making the podium anyway), and aided by a very steady podium performance, Dan Feyer captured his third American Crossword Puzzle Tournament championship and another $5,000 check.

Bob Mackey will be analyzing Dan's rocky road to his third championship in a future blog post. For his part, Bob won a trophy for finishing second among New Jersey solvers, beating out Howard Barkin. Bob was 18th overall, tying his personal best since his blistering 6th place rookie performance in 1998. Dave finished 85th thanks to errors in Puzzles 1 and 7.

Your other champions crowned Sunday:
B: John Beck
C: Guy Tabachnick
D: Benjamin Aisen
E: Alex Allain
Rookie: Erik Agard
Juniors and South: David Plotkin
Fifties: Anne Erdmann
Sixties: Doug Hoylman
Seventies: Neil Singer
Senior: Jane Blanshard (with Mimi Raphael in second, adding to her trophy haul)
West: Tyler Hinman
Connecticut: Douglas Goodman
New England: Joon Pahk
NYC: Dan Feyer
Long Island: Peter Gordon
Upstate NY: Arnold Reich
Mid-Atlantic: Scott Weiss
Midwest: Erdmann
Foreign: Emily O'Neill

Additionally, 140 solvers beat "Dr. Fill", a computer that solved the seven tournament puzzles, programmed by Matt Ginsburg.

This Topsy-Turvy Tourney

Anne Erdmann, good sport that she is, has decided to take back her error on Puzzle #1, but successfully appealed her Puzzle 4 "error". The standings are now Tyler Hinman, David Plotkin and Dan Feyer going into puzzle 7, with Anne now in fourth place.

Bob is close up to the top of the B's. Dave made an error on Puzzle 7 but hopes others did the same.

Live blogging of the finals coming sometime in the noon hour. Hope you can join us.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Through Four Puzzles

1. Tyler Hinman
2. Al Sanders
3. Francis Heaney

Anne Erdmann slips down to twelfth...

20. Bob Mackey (4th among B solvers)
95. Dave Mackey

Through Three Puzzles

The current rankings as of Puzzle 3.... the standings are showing Dan Feyer in 12th place.... could he be fallible? UPDATE: We confirmed that Feyer had two blank squares on Puzzle 3.

1. Tyler Hinman
2. Anne Erdmann
3. Al Sanders
4. Francis Heaney
5. Joon Pahk
6. Jon Delfin
7. David Plotkin
8 (tie). Doug Peterson
8 (tie). Stella Zawistowski
10. Doug Hoylman
11. John Beck
12. Dan Feyer

25. Bob Mackey
97. Dave Mackey

Through Two Puzzles

Dan Feyer and Tyler Hinman are in a flatfooted tie for first, with Al Sanders in third place. Following close behind are Francis Heaney, Scott Weiss, Jon Delfin, Doug Hoylman, Joon Pahk, and David Plotkin. Bob 60th and Dave 112th, each making a one-square mistake (but not the same one) on Puzzle 1.

First six puzzles were (in order) Lynn Lempel, Patrick Merrell, Patrick Berry, Ian Livengood, Patrick Blindauer, and Elizabeth C. Gorski. That leaves Merl Reagle and Mike Shenk to provide Sunday's puzzles.

Tonight, a demonstration of Dr. Fill, a slide show by Don Christensen, and a team-solving challenge by Eric Berlin and Jeffrey Harris. Tomorrow, the seventh puzzle, the variety show, and the finals. Be sure to follow all the action of the finals LIVE tomorrow in the window at the top of your Puzzle Brothers website.

Friday, March 16, 2012

ACPT Underway!

Marty Markowitz has officially declared the 35th ACPT underway with a proclamation and a puzzle of his own. We are in Brooklyn all weekend! Join us!

Contestant Count and A Solvers Confirmed

574 preregistrations. Do not panic as more will come over the transom. Following is the list of A solvers for this year:

Howard Barkin
Adam Cohen
Kathie Conarck
Jon Delfin
Len Elliott
Anne Erdmann
Dan Feyer
Peter Gordon
Francis Heaney
Tyler Hinman
Doug Hoylman
Richard Kalustian
Brian Olewnick
Joon Pahk
Doug Peterson
David Plotkin
Arnold Reich
Amy Reynaldo
Ellen Ripstein
Al Sanders
Dan Seabolt
Ken Stern
Scott Weiss
Thomas Weisswange
Stella Zawistowski

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our Warmup Puzzles

As it will probably be 200 years before The Puzzle Brothers are actually constructing for the tournament, our puzzles will remain a gratis gift to be solved at your leisure. This year there will not be print distribution of our puzzles. All files are .PUZ files.

This year's puzzles are:
Bob: Bob's Themeless / Special O-K's-ion
Dave: Soul Train Scramble / Splainin' to Do

Monday, March 12, 2012

ACPT Constructors Announced

Patrick Berry, Patrick Blindauer, Elizabeth C. Gorski, Lynn Lempel, Ian Livengood, Patrick Merrell, Merl Reagle, Mike Shenk.

For the first time ever, no Maura B. Jacobson in the #ACPT.

Source: blog post

Monday, March 05, 2012

Tournament Fever - CATCH IT!

Usually about two weeks in the fever starts to set in, and the countdown, no longer in weeks but in days, begins in earnest. We are about 11 days from the Crossword Mecca, the 35th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. It all begins on Friday, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. and wraps up sometime early Sunday afternoon, at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, with that lovely view of the John Jay Criminal Justice Complex.

In an austerity move, Puzzle Brother Bob will be flying solo on the Friday night games this year, which will include a palindrome-writing competition and a "Pick Your Poison" contest. That will leave Dave free to report on the goings on in and around the bar area, where independent games are staged by the more free-minded of the group. These usually take the form of trivia, Jeopardy! or other free wheeling games.

Our gift to tournament attendees this year, our puzzles, will be available online only this year. We may be able to print some on request if you want to do them on the spot.

Our reportage begins in earnest on Saturday where we will keep you informed up to the minute as to our standing in the tournament as well as those of the top solvers. Going to be a markedly different field this year without the presence of the always formidable Trip Payne. Follow us on Twitter at @thepuzbros or at our Facebook page - just search for "The Puzzle Brothers".

Saturday activities will include a presentation by Matt Ginsberg, whose crossword-solving program, Dr. Fill, will be playing along with the human competitors. There will also be a team solving challenge engineered by Eric Berlin and Jeffrey Harris.

How can you top our Saturday coverage of the tournament? With our exclusive, never-duplicated-elsewhere LIVE BLOG of the tournament finals, only here on We will be using Cover It Live once again to accomplish this, and Bob and I will be online to answer your questions. You can take part either at this website, or you can tweet your ACPT-related messages to @thepuzbros with the hashtag #ACPTFinals and they will magically appear to us in CIL. You will get a slightly different vibe from this year's finals as we have two new commentators this year - Neal Conan and Merl Reagle have been supplanted by Greg Pliska and Liane Hansen.

Advance thanks to our longtime tournament director, founder, and host, Mr. Will Shortz, and his able team, particularly the lovely Helene Hovanec who does so much of the behind the scenes work. And the Marriott for hosting yet again in their wonderful hotel. And we will see you ALL on the 16th!